Interview – Manan Shah – How to achieve 40% more demo sign ups
This time we met with Manan Shah, the co-founder and CEO of Recruiterflow, which is an integrated recruitment marketing and CRM software. They believe that recruitment has fundamentally changed and the winners will be the ones who proactively engage and nurture talent the way they do with their customers. Manan is obsessed with human productivity and Recruiterflow is the second SaaS company that he has founded.
With all his experience and thrive towards efficiency and productivity, he created Recruiterflow to help HR teams to automate their systems and hire better, faster and cheaper. In addition to talking about recruiting and how this field has changed over the years, we also covered topics like their online strategy and how they get more demo sign-ups from the website. If you wanna know how they do it – tune in…
See the full interview below…
Pathmonk: Welcome to the show guys. Hi there, business owners, directors and marketeers. In today’s show, I’m meeting Manan from Recruiterflow. We’re going to talk all about SaaS today.I’m Lukas your host as always. I want to tell you about my guest before we get started with the actual questions. He’s a co founder and CEO of Recruiterflow and he’s really obsessed with, human productivity and that really ties nicely into the product that the team has been building and working on. It was actually his second SaaS company, so he has quite some experience to draw from. And he’s from Bangalore, India. Actually he mentioned to us that he should be reading more than he’s currently doing. Always eager to learn and always to learn something new. So Mana, welcome to the show. So tell us about your company. What is Recruiterflow all about?
Manan: Recruiterflow is a CRM for recruiters to help them manage their candidates as well as clients. The idea behind the flow is that, in last decade you’ve seen tremendous growth in terms of sales productivity and marketing automation. Somehow some of these progresses have not reached recruiters. As we see more and more talent crunch, recruiting is becoming a more, increasingly more important function, in every company. That’s why a lot of companies are focusing more on how do we make recruiters match our tactic, how do we get them to, engage the talent in a way that they never could. And that’s very powerful. As I said I’m obsessed with productivity, and aRecruiterflow is my little way off in prison productivity of a very small niche.
Pathmonk : You already alluded to it but who would be the types of roles that are types of people who would benefit most from the software – who’s using it?
Manan: Recruiterflow is mainly used by recruiting and staffing companies. We currently focus on small and medium businesses. Anywhere from two, three recruiters to up to recruiting agencies. So these are the ideal customers. Most of our customers are more proactive recruiters, more head hunting, kind of businesses, they have to go out in the market and engage with hundreds of people that they want. Generally our customers come from the United States and UK, these two represent the biggest geographies that we have.
Pathmonk: Makes a lot of sense. Would you mind to summarize maybe the couple of key tasks or key actions that people would do with Recruiterflow that would really make their life and their recruiting jobs easier?
Manan: Sure. In a way a recruiter is just like a sales guy, prospecting new candidates and reaching out to them. Recruiterflow is the only recruiting CRM. Right now that offers integrated, emails prospecting tools as well as an integrated email sequences. Our customers who moved from LinkedIn messaging to, email sequences have seen anywhere from 40% to 180%. Kind of a big jump in the response rates. That’s first and second is we have a feature, which is marketing automation that recruiters can set up rules, that are event based..If this happens – do this, if that happens to etc. so you can start up these routes. The ones that we have seen have, implemented, some of these automation boosts, end up saving four to six hours a week per record. You know, that’s almost half a day. You got extra a week.
Pathmonk: Wow. It’s like small teams using your tool usually, or is up to big enterprise companies would be using them saving time?
Manan: Currently we focused mainly on the smaller teams. This is also a function of how we evolve as a product.We were fairly young, and, we will be going after a market segment, next year.
Pathmonk: Makes a lot of sense. I would like to pick your brain about how you think about growth, right? And online growth in particular, for this product. What would be the way a recruiter or recruiting manager usually would find your product these days? What would be a typical user journey? Which channels would they walk through?
Manan: So we have multiple channels.The most obvious ones being, PVC marketing as well as, SEO. We’ve been investing in SEO heavily since last about a year now and, it’s getting us fantastic results. Our SEO strategy has been, mainly around the tactical questions that recruiters might have. They come on our blog to find answers, get interested, and, end up, signing up or scheduling a demo. On the PPC side, we do on Google AdWords and a majority of our PPC comes from other listing sites.Also, one of the things that we’ve been trying since last three, four months and we started seeing some results, is user referrals because recruiting is a small, very tight type of network community. Now we are at that stage where we have enough customers, who can recommend us other customers and how we actively encourage them to talk about some social media. And that has been going fantastically well. That’s the main three strategies that we have.
Pathmonk: All right, really good. Are you enforcing this with a type of affiliate type of a program of a friend referral program or is it more word of mouth at the moment?
Manan: It’s more word of mouth at the moment, but that there is active encouragement. Like whenever a new customer converts within first two months, we, I will go and ask them that: “Hey, how’s it going? And, if you like Recruiterflow, can you tell your friends?” And if you don’t like it tell me why?” So we do that. We send out an NPS score, a survey, and yeah, I mean truly asking customers…
Pathmonk: I really liked the options that you have there. If you like it recommended it. If you don’t like it, let us know. Right. It’s really good. Tell me about the website because you mentioned PPC, you mentioned SEO. What role does your whole website play in your online strategy? Is it key to your business? Is it more informational hub on the side? Like how should we think about your website?
Manan: Absolutely. So recruiting tech is an extremely competitive market. And, you have a few seconds, to, impress your user, enough to, give, an email ID to you? Right so a website plays a very key role in this. We, if you look at our homepage, it’s completely organized around everything that you can do with Recruiterflow, right? How we will make you a superhuman and, how it will make you a better recruiter. It’s completely, you know, centered around that. We made this change about six to eight months back and we saw about 40 to 45% jump in our signup rates..
Pathmonk: What do you think was the major driver of this jump in signup rates? Because folks always wondering what are the elements that contribute to this?
Manan: We are earlier, our website was more informational.That hero profile is a CRM that has these features and you can do this and blah, blah. From there, we completely changed the narrative to what you can do and achieve. Right. If you see a right on the home page, it says a, a modern CRM for recording and staffing agencies and below that it says automate your busy work. So that immediately gets their interest. You see different tabs that help that each tab is named, after, what a user can do or one of the major tasks really. These are the things that a recruiter wants to do and it has, animations and screenshots of the real product, that helps them see, okay, this is extremely simple.This is fast. And, I’ve been, for some users they’ve been looking for something like this for years and not finding anything in the market.Yeah, so then you have a CTAs of sign up and even after the user signup, we continuously are next step in the funnel is always the demo. We try and get them to the demo.
Pathmonk: What type of metrics would you be looking at, because there’s tons of metrics that you could look at the website from, time on page down to conversion rate. Like what are the key metrics for you.
Manan: Right now, we keep an eye on our bounce rates, not currently very concerned with the time spent, on the page because, unless it’s a blog. But, we definitely look out for bounce rates. We are in a growth phase growing really quickly.The key metric that, that is the most important to us is our conversion rate, right? So how many people can work to leads, and, from there, how many people can do a qualified leads?
Pathmonk: What do you think are some types of challenges, right, that maybe your business or businesses like yours face in term of increasing conversion rates? Something maybe you have a story to share.You shared already changing the narrative from a very description of one to benefits and task-based. Anything else that you learned that pushes conversions a bit?
Manan: Yeah, so a lot of things, right? So, keeping your page, very simple and very focused on your target persona, is very important. The less jargon you use, the better it is. As a founder , you have these obviously fantastic ideas about what you want to do in the market, but if your users don’t connect with it, it’s going to be pretty much useless. You need to come from a very user or visitor centric perspective, and create your copy from there. And, what we’ve seen is that, if they started doing exit intent targeting, we started, putting out, forms for, capturing leads. All of these things like small things do end up pushing that number, to a fairly good standard that we have seen.
Pathmonk: I think there’s a lot that people can learn from there. Any more challenges that you could let us know. What was difficult when trying to improve conversion rates? Something, some information that you were missing, some processes that were not set in place, maybe folks can learn from that. Any challenges you faced?
Manan: Sure. Yeah. So, a lot of times, first of all, it’s difficult. As a day to day founder or an operations, you are neck deep into work every day to, get out of that mode and get into a user’s mind.That’s the first and the most important challenge for you to overcome.After, after you’ve done that, especially if you’re a start up, for the first few months, you are not going to have enough traffic to do any kind of meaningful testing, right? How do you work with limited amount of data and testing that you can do? Right? So what we did was, we created three completely separate versions off our website. First month you would have a version A, second month it would have version have version B, and that’s how we figured out what works best? Right So, cause we didn’t have enough traffic to do multivariate testing.
Pathmonk: You basically did testing spread out over a long period of time to then accumulate the traffic so you can find what makes version is interesting. How would you characterize those versions? Were there like completely different or was, how should I imagine those three versions?
Manan: Okay. The versions were based on three hypothesis. One was that: “Hey, we will give information….These are the feature is are the benefits” are fairly, boring, website. The second was the one that we currently have, which was interactive and help users understand what they can achieve with Recruiterflow.Third, was more of a, a jargon specific that they use. We ran all three of these versions. Unfortunately the version that worked best, was the version that we ran last but we saw fantastic results. Like in the first week of launching that version, we knew this was the one.
Pathmonk: This version was what we’re seeing today, probably, right. Something around more benefits, key tasks of the users, something like that,
Manan: Something like that.Yes.I mean, there’ve been changes, but these are smaller copy paste changes
Pathmonk: Thanks for sharing those stories.Very insightful. Maybe let’s switch gears a little bit. As we coming slowly towards the end of the interview, I would like to learn about you as a founder and business owner. Maybe tell me what was been the things that have been most helpful for you to actually be able to build not only one, but two, SaaS companies. Like what is major skills that you possess that are, helping you to…
Manan: To pull that off, basically? well it’s mainly a persistence, right? So, I’m a software, I’m a mechanical engineer by education who, writes code, and was forced into sales because, I was a founder of my first company and had somebody have to do sales. And, I was really bad at, in the beginning and I started getting better and we ended up raising a lot of money and selling that company. The key, especially if you’re a, into B2B or SaaS, the key is being very persistent and, it, you will learn the ropes of what you need to do and, get to your target.That has been my biggest, our, learning so far. Six years of running SaaS businesses.
Pathmonk: How did you learn about sales? Like what was your major path? Did you have a coach? Were you reading? Was it trial and error? How should we imagine the process to be
Manan: Well, it was mentors and investors, right? So and I first started doing sales. It was, I was just about, I will tell my customers, we can do this, we can do that, blah, blah. One of my, I, this is a very good story that I remember. One of the customers that I was pitching to, the CEO of that company was an investor, was angel investor in my company. He called me back, later, that evening. And, told me that my partner love your product, but, they told me that you are a terrible salesman. And I said: “Why what happened?” And they said, they basically figured that you were talking the entire time.That getting a good sales meeting is where you talk less than 50%. From that was the first lesson that I learned and then read lot of books, talk to some of the best sales people that I know.
Pathmonk: One particular book that stands out to you that was helpful.
Manan: Well, predictable revenue by Aaron Ross. It’s it’s been my bible as far as the sales process is concerned.
Pathmonk: Yeah, I want to like come to an end of the interview with the last question. Like if you would restart Recruiterflow today, what would be one advice that you would give yourself?
Manan: Well, it’s hindsight, my risk appetite or my ability to take, really crazy experiments, was much more limited than it is today. That’s the advice I would give to me, the founder I was two years ago that: “Hey, take bigger and bolder moves, you will fail.I mean, you are going to fail 80% of the time, but it’s the 20% where you win step what matters and that’s what pushes the boundaries.
Pathmonk: I appreciate that you sharing the story, appreciate the insight of sharing the story of how your website transformed and how you as a salesperson transformed being forced into the position of a sales member as well being originally from tech.I really appreciate taking the time and being part of the show today.Thanks a lot.
Manan: Well, it’s special. The pleasure has been all mine, Lukas